Calcium is a mineral that is necessary for life: it builds strong bones, helps blood clotting, and is vital for transmitting messages through the nerves and also in the release of certain hormones. If we don’t get enough of this mineral through our diet then our body will leach it from our bones, leaving them weak and vulnerable. In this high calcium foods list you will find the top 11 plant food sources of this essential mineral.
PLANT BASED EATING
If you’re striving towards a more plant based way of living, then you may be wondering just how your’e going to meet your calcium needs. Most of us have been conditioned to believe that we can only obtain good amounts of this mineral from dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt, but this is simply not true. In fact, it’s so far from the truth that you probably won’t believe there are many plant foods that are actually HIGHER in calcium than dairy products. Yep, that’s one super cool fact huh?
Not only are these foods high in calcium, but they are also healthier in other respects in terms of protein, fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. This can make the plant based diet, when done properly through correct combinations of food groups a very healthy way of life indeed.
Vegan versus plant based diet
When you decide to give up all animal products you’ll find that attention to what you’re eating the most important part of your transition, and your health could actually be worse off if you become a junk food vegan. The difference with a plant based diet compared to a vegan diet, is the fact that it is based around ‘whole plant foods’, and is also low in refined sugars and trans fats. But sugar and trans fats could potentially be a big part of a vegan diet, so you see where I’m going here.
That is why it is crucial before embarking on any restrictive eating plan that you have an understanding of what your body needs, and exactly which foods you need to be eating to obtain it. If you don’t take the time to understand macronutrients and nutrition then you could end up with health problems down the line.
Getting the Calcium you need on a Plant Based Diet
When you start eating plant based, or even if you have decided to cut out dairy for whatever reason (maybe you are dairy intolerant) then you will need to be mindful of getting enough calcium into your diet. It is always best to get this from a food source, which is more natural, rather than take supplements that won’t be absorbed so readily AND could potentially throw your other minerals out of whack..
Calcium and Strong Bones
Calcium is SO important to health because when you don’t get enough your bones get weaker, leaving you more susceptible, not only to breakages, but the dreaded osteoporosis that affects 1 in 2 females and 1 in 4 males at some point in their lives.
These odds do often have other factors involved, such as genetics, ethnicity, bone structure, body weight, certain diseases and some medications; but make no bones about it (excuse the pun), getting enough calcium is a major player in preventing these problems.
The risks of these diseases can be negated by making sure that you eat a healthy diet that meets all your calcium needs. You should also stay within a healthy weight range, and be sure to keep your bones strong through weight bearing exercise. It’s important that you do both of these things to see and feel the real benefits; one without the other just may not be enough!
How much Calcium do I need?
CHILDREN – 1300MG PER DAY
WOMEN UNDER 50 – 1000MG PER DAY
WOMEN OVER 50 – 1,200MG PER DAY
MEN UNDER 70 – 1000MG PER DAY
MEN OVER 70 – 1,200 MG PER DAY
Best Plant Based and Vegan Calcium Sources
Eating at least a couple of portions of the foods on this list will help you to cover your calcium needs. Try to keep your foods as varied as possible to be sure you are reaping all the other fantastic benefits of them. They are ALL highly nutritious, and should become the cornerstone of any healthy plant based diet.
Tofu can be one of the best sources of calcium on a plant based diet, which is due to the fact that most supermarket tofu is already fortified with it. You will need to check different brands to find which contain the highest amounts but some can offer up to 33% of your daily intake in just one cup.
Tofu is also extremely high in plant protein and contains all 8 amino acids; plus iron, copper, zinc, B1, and the minerals manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium.
Soy products are estrogenic, and can lead to hormone disruptions in both men and women if eaten in large quantities so you should stick with just a couple of servings a week to be in the safe side. Soy is also well known for being GMO, so always buy organic where possible.
2. BLACK EYED PEAS
CALCIUM CONTENT – 1 cup (canned) 370MG 38% of your daily intake.
Beans all contain calcium, but the highest by far are black eyed peas, which can easily be added to stews, soups and salads. They also contain good amounts of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and vitamins A, D and C. You can buy them canned for ease of use, but you may prefer the taste and texture of home soaked and cooked pulses if you have the time to do so.
3. KALE AND SWISS CHARD
CALCIUM CONTENT – 1 cup (cooked) 197MG 19.7% of your daily intake.
Kale and Swiss chard have the highest calcium content of all the vegetables, and also contain fiber, phytonutrients, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins C, E and A.
These greens, along with these other known superfoods, have a superior nutritional profile and should be eaten only lightly cooked or steamed to retain their nutrients. I like to saute mine quickly with some coconut oil (fat helps the absorption of many of kale’s nutrients), fresh garlic, chili and lemon juice (my favorite go-to livener for all veggies is those 3 things). TIP:- Be sure to add your fresh lemon juice only at the very end of the cooking process as it tends to go bitter if cooked in from the beginning.
4. SESAME SEEDS
CALCIUM CONTENT – 1 tablespoon 140MG 14% of your daily intake.
Sesame seeds hold the highest calcium content of all the seeds (but the others are also pretty good), and 1 tablespoon contains the same amount of calcium as half a cup of milk. You can easily eat these nutritious little seeds into your diet in the form of tahini, which is a paste that can be added to many dishes; or use the seeds as a topping sprinkle for cereal, yogurt or stir-fries.
Sesame seeds are best eaten either ground up into a powder or paste; or otherwise chewed really well as your stomach won’t be able to break them down very easily.
5. BUTTERNUT SQUASH
CALCIUM CONTENT – 1 cup 84MG 8.4% of your daily intake.
Not only is butternut squash high in calcium, but it also contains carotenoids which are great for the prevention of heart disease, arthritis and asthma.
It is also a magnificent source of nerve soothing vitamin B6, potassium, folate, panothenic acid, and manganese, making it a vegetable you should be consuming regularly on your plant based diet.
CALCIUM CONTENT- 23 nuts (large handful) 76MG – 7.6% of your daily intake.
Almonds are delicious and full of protein and nutrients, calcium being one of them. Plus, they are an easy and transportable snack that can be popped into your handbag and taken anywhere – perfect for those times when you’re tempted to snack on unhealthy fast foods.
They are choc full of fiber, and their skins are said to contain over 20 different antioxidant flavenoids all of which are good for anti aging. They also contain vitamin E, magnesium, riboflavin, and potassium to boot, making them a powerful little nut that deserve a regular place in your diet.
CALCIUM CONTENT – 1 large orange 75MG – 7% of your daily intake.
This was even a new one on me! Oranges contain a really significant amount of calcium, are delicious, and like almonds are easily transportable. They also contain what they are of course most famous for – vitamin C; along with other nutrients such as potassium, B-vitamins, vitamin A and magnesium.
Oranges are also great for re-hydrating and refueling your blood sugar’s after a hard workout, making them a perfect post workout food that you can just throw in your gym bag and off you go!
8. SWEET POTATO
CALCIUM CONTENT – 1 large potato 68MG – 7% of your daily intake.
I just love sweet potato wedges baked in the oven with coconut oil and spices like garlic, paprika and chili flakes. They are just so versatile and can be incorporated into any meal – they’re also way healthier and lower GI than your average white spud. Low GI foods like the sweet potato help to keep blood sugar stable and weight under control, both of which bring with them many other health benefits.
As with all orange coloured fruits and vegetables, sweet potato is high in beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Sweet potatoes are another superfood because of their superior nutrient content, and are also high in vitamin C, B6 and magnesium.
CALCIUM CONTENT – 1 cup 62MG – 6% of your daily intake.
Another one of mother nature’s super foods, broccoli contains lots of health benefits. It is high in fiber and can be eaten raw in salads, juiced, steamed, or flash stir-fried. The way you cook your broccoli is very important: if you boil or over cook it you can lose up to 90% of its awesome nutritional powers.
This is another veggie that tastes great stir fried with chilli, garlic and lemon, and a dash of tamari or soy sauce (tamari is healthier; and gluten and sugar free).
It is also one of the highest protein vegetables that also contains vitamin C, B6, K and vitamin A.
TIP:- For nutrition’s sake always eat the raw stalk of your broccoli. After you have prepared the florets for cooking, just slice down and take the outer edges off the stalk off (I give those to my dog who loves them) and eat the inner tube you have left – it tastes very mild; and is crisp, juicy and full of nutrition.
CALCIUM CONTENT – per 3 figs – 52MG – 5% of your daily intake.
Figs, both raw and dried, contain magnesium, manganese, copper, potassium, B6 and vitamin K, so they really are a fantastic addition to any healthy diet plan. They are delicious fresh when in season, but equally as good dried when they go all sweet and chewy.
Add them chopped to salads, or bake your fresh figs with a little honey for the ultimate sweet treat. Also great with coconut yogurt, and flaked roasted almonds for breakfast or dessert.
11. GREEN SUPERFOOD POWDER
There are many different types of green superfood powder, such as wheat grass, barley grass, spirulina, Chlorella and moringa to name just a few. This thing they all have in common is that along with a super high antioxidant and phytonutrient content, they all contain high levels of calcium as most green leafy foods do, except this is way more concentrated, and freeze or tumble dried at its peak of nutrition.
A shot of green superfood powder is a good step to take on the plant based diet; especially if you want to take your health to the next level and to be doubly sure you’re meeting all your nutrient needs. These amazing, specially formulated powders give you energy, vitality, clarity, immune support, better sleep, anti aging benefits on the inside and out.
Try it for yourself if you don’t believe me – you will feel them working within about half an hour in terms of increased energy and sparkly eyes. Just be sure to use only high quality powders or you will not be guaranteed the best results.
Check out this YouTube video for a delicious way to get your calcium in a homemade chocolate treat that looks oh so delicious!
Thank you for reading post’s from zestforever and supporting the plant based eating cause. If you have any questions about plant based calcium or the plant based diet, then please feel free to post in the comments section as I would be happy to help.
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